Top 25 Albums of the 2000s
After reading Pitchfork’s Pitchfork’s top albums and songs lists, I was inspired to come up with my top albums list.* If you have a couple spare hours, click through the songs list for awhile and listen to some of the embedded songs. Maybe you missed something; a decade is a long time.
*I can’t imagine coming up with a top X songs list. Comparing albums is difficult but at least you can come up with some basic metrics (album depth, how much you want to listen through a whole album at once, etc.), but for songs I got nothing. Is “Destroy Everything You Touch” better than “Mein Herz Brennt”? I have no idea!
Sure, my list isn’t as authoritative and I haven’t heard every culturally relevant album of the decade. A year from now my ordering could be completely different or I might have entirely new entries from albums that I just haven’t heard yet.
My first attempt started with a goal of my top 25 albums, but this ballooned up to 30 albums that I found I just had to include on a decade-long list. Then 35, then 50. But for me, there really wasn’t a huge difference between, say, the #32 album (Röyksopp – Melody AM) and the #49 album (Space Manoeuvres – Oid). So we’re down to 25 albums for the purpose of brevity.
Note that I ruled compilations ineligible for this, which disqualifies albums like Nick Warren’s Reykjavik mix (almost certainly a top 25 entry). Ok, well, technically Nah Und Fern is a compilation, but I’m using it as a stand-in for the four albums that comprise it. The albums are so interconnected in theme and aesthetic, I don’t think I could choose a distinct favorite.
- Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
- The National – Boxer (2007)
- Aphex Twin – Drukqs (2001)
- Radiohead – Hail to the Thief (2003)
- LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver (2007)
- The Smashing Pumpkins – Machina/The Machines of God (2000)
- Editors – The Back Room (2005)
- Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (2002)
- Asobi Seksu – Citrus (2006)
- Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase (2005)
- Thom Yorke – The Eraser (2006)
- Mindless Self Indulgence – Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy (2000)
- Ulrich Schnauss – Far Away Trains Passing By (2001)
- Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
- The Orb – Okie Dokie It’s The Orb on Kompakt (2005)
- Beck – Guero (2005)
- The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)
- Ulrich Schnauss – A Strangely Isolated Place (2003)
- Boards of Canada – Geogaddi (2002)
- Faded Paper Figures – Dynamo (2008)
- The Orb – Cydonia (2001)
- Gas – Nah Und Fern (2008)
- The Field – From Here We Go Sublime (2007)
- The Knife – Silent Shout (2006)
- Gorillaz – Demon Days (2005)
Just missing the cut (in no particular order): Electric Six – Fire, Manitoba – Up in Flames, DJ Shadow – The Private Press, Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings, Passion Pit – Manners, Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere, Kid Koala – Some of My Best Friends Are DJs, The Shins – Wincing the Night Away, Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion, The (International) Noise Conspiracy – Survival Sickness
Most unknown from top 25: Faded Paper Figures – Dynamo
Most critically derided from top 25: The Orb – Cydonia
Barely missing the cutoff date: Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile (released at the end of 1999, this would have been a contender for #1)
Wanted to include in top 25 but could in no way justify it: The Bug – London Zoo, Nobukazu Takemura – Hoshi no Koe, Deepchord Present Echospace – The Coldest Season
Wouldn’t be surprised if they entered the top 25 in the future: The Dead Weather – Horehound, Asobi Seksu – Hush, Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Decade winner: Thom Yorke
Coming up with this list was a little strange, as it mixed albums like Machina that I was essentially raised on almost ten years ago with albums I didn’t discover until this year like Faded Paper Figures’ Dynamo. I swear I could change this list around a dozen times be no less satisfied or dissatisfied with it.
Picking the #1 album was pretty difficult. For a long time I had Boxer as the top entry. Plus, I didn’t really want to pick Kid A, as it’s #1 on almost every top albums list I’ve read. Kid A really is a great album, but I think I view it differently than a lot of people. For many, they viewed it as an avante-garde step for rock and a musical revolution. Coming from an electronic music background, I viewed it more as a natural progression of electronic and rock music. Kid A takes a lot of cues from “IDM” artists like Aphex Twin, but Radiohead just did it so damn well.
Arbitrary song of the day: Nina Simone – Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat’s Heavenly House Mix)